MOODY AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. --
The 23rd Maintenance Group Innovation Cell hosted a grand opening for a maintenance virtual reality room at Moody Air Force Base, Georgia, Feb. 1, 2023.
The 23rd MXG partnered with Mass Virtual and Air Education and Training Command’s Integrated Technology Platform team to implement VR training for maintenance Airmen – with many benefits, the new technology aims to save time, money and resources while also improving the training experience for Airmen.
The use of the VR enables students to gain a better understanding of operations through an additional method to time spent in an aircraft or simulator – ultimately equipping them with more confidence and capability to perform their duties on a live aircraft.
“We can get Airmen trained here first,” said Tech. Sgt. Steven Clennon, 372nd Training Squadron Detachment 9 instructor element noncommissioned officer in charge. “This increases aircraft and simulator availability, reduces the amount of hands on an aircraft and the amount of time we have to run engines.”
In no way will virtual reality replace hands-on training but rather it will augment it. This technology allows instructors to teach a class in VR whether it be in their physical location or for a base that is geographically separated, where students are all able to see the same thing at the same time.
“There are tasks that you can’t accomplish in technical school that we can accomplish in VR,” said Airman 1st Class Nathaniel Garces, 41st Rescue Generation Squadron HH-60W crew chief. “Being able to visualize, or go through a task I don’t understand, and the instructor being able to explain what we’re looking at, will fast track the job we’re trying to accomplish.”
Some modules are meant for instruction and training familiarization, while others are specific to the tasks these Airmen have to perform – familiarizing them with the process of comprehending and carrying out technical orders, Clennon explained.
Not only do instructors see the benefits, but Airmen are also excited to see innovative processes become a part of their intricate training.
“Advancement is important,” Garces said. “Seeing that they’ve pushed it so far and gained a lot of traction – this could change the future of training.”
With the HC 130-J modules completed, June of 2022 marked the beginning of the $2.5 million project and the process to accomplish scans of the HH-60W and A-10C aircraft, establish VR terminals and a lab at Moody, in order to adequately create lesson plans based off of classroom objectives that can be used AF-wide for installations utilizing VR.
“This makes sense to me. This is a good use of technology, in a smart way,” said Col. Russ Cook, 23rd Wing commander. “This team was one of the few that crossed the chasm.”